Personalized Photo Playing Cards Make Unique Gifts

Personalized photo playing cards make fun card games and are perfect personalized gifts for children and adults. Use these steps to make your own card games and then print your playing cards.

How to make your own personalized photo playing cards

Step #1: Decide What Purpose You Want Your Custom Printed Playing Cards to Serve

Do you simply want custom poker cards for Dad? Or wedding playing cards for the bride and groom? Perhaps you're looking for family reunion gift ideas. Or maybe you need unique birthday party favors for your child.

Whether it's to stir up happy memories, a creative way to display family photos, to make fun learning games for kids, or whatever - know your purpose.

If you're going to take the time and spend the money to have personalized playing cards made, make sure they serve a purpose. By the way, that's my general mantra on this site -

Don't waste your time or money -
give a gift that counts!

Step #2: Know Who the Playing Cards are For

Personalized kid gifts should be very different than gag birthday gifts.

Step #3: Plan the Game

personalized photo playing cards

You can make up your own card games with your own set of rules. Or, base your personalized photo playing cards off one of the many existing popular and fun card games.

To pattern a deck of cards after an existing game, keep the basic card the same but add a photo element. For example, these face cards still have your basic suits and numbers, and they can be used exactly the same as any poker deck. The difference is that they include a photo and can be completely customized.

Step #4: Choose Appropriate Photos

gifts for dog owners

Since you're dealing with a very small printing area, close ups seem to work best. Faces of family and friends are great. But you could also use animal pictures if you need gifts for dog owners or landscape photos if you need gifts for hikers.

Step #5: Upload Your Photos and Design Your Cards

Technology is so accessible these days that you can choose from many different companies who print playing cards that have been personalized.

Choose a company that fits your design requirements, comfort level and budget. Some companies will allow custom printing on just the back side of a regular deck of cards. Others will allow you to create an entire deck of uniquely imprinted playing cards, with both the front and back customized to your liking. Some companies will have an extensive library of templates and themes to choose from. Others will have fewer pre-set options but greater design flexibility.

Step #6: Print/Order... and wait

Once you've finished your project, all that's left to do is anxiously wait for your personalized playing cards to arrive on your doorstep.

Ideas for fun card games using personalized photo playing cards

I made this memory game for my kids, using the faces of all of their cousins. We call the game "Crazy Cousins," and they love it! Two or more players take turns looking for matching cards. The player with the most matches wins. Oh, and if you find yourself in the cards, you get double points.

Make trivia cards of any subject you want to know better. We made family trivia cards as a means to get to know our ancestors. It's good practice for matching faces to names, too.

Old Maid
Use photos of your friends or family to make your own playing cards for Old Maid. Put a Halloween twist on the game by using pictures of everyone in costume. Give each a fun name - Pirate Pete, Silly Sally, Monster Mom, etc. Design your playing card deck with even matches for all the cards EXCEPT the "Old Maid." You can have one old maid card or several, as long as it's an odd number. In turn, players draw a card from the person's hand on their left and discards any matches they can make. Once all the cards are matched, the person left holding the remaining old maid card loses.

Go Fish
Since the goal of Go Fish is to make the most sets of four, you'll need to make 4 exact copies of each of your personalized photo playing cards. That means in a standard 52-card deck, you can have up to 13 different photos.

Place the same photo and number on four cards of different colors. You can have as many numbers as you wish, provided you're able to expand the total number of cards in the deck beyond the standard 52. Don't forget to include several reverse, skip, draw 2 and wild cards.

Face Cards with a Theme
With custom printed playing cards, you have the ability to turn any standard deck of cards into the theme of your choice - golf, holiday, pet, birthday, whatever. Custom poker cards can be made with pictures, logos and/or text. Need retirement gift ideas? How about personalized photo playing cards with a fun picture and retirement quote, such as, "Retirement takes all the meaning out of weekends."

Other ideas using personalized photo playing cards

  • make your own board game and print playing cards to use for the draw pile
  • miniature recipe cards
    Make several sets of the same 5-7 recipes, hole punch and tie with a ribbon. (This is one of my favorite unique yet inexpensive gift ideas. A perfect item to make ahead of time and then have on hand for when you need a last minute Christmas gift or other ideas!)
  • design your own alphabet cards for kids, flash games or interactive money game
  • turn your favorite sports photo of your child into soccer, football or baseball trading cards; get photos of each team member and make trading cards for the entire team
  • make unique business cards, gift cards and tags
  • send one-of-a-kind change of address cards
    This would be especially fun for newlyweds. Put a wedding photo on one side of the playing cards, a change of address note on the other side and then send individual cards with the thank you notes.
  • reward coupons and love notes
  • gamer "cash"
    Our family has a deck of specially-designed cards called "Wii Bucks." It's our family's way of helping the kids manage their screen time. They earn bucks for doing chores, a good deed, or sometimes just because. Then when they want to play (after their chores and homework is done, of course), they can redeem wii bucks for video game time.

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